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Is there something like Jump In?

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I guess I didn't realize it was heavily religious. I just asked DD/rising 9th who used a big chunk of Jump In this year. She scrunched up her face and dug deep. "There was one place where it told me to write about someone's spiritual development and suggested C.S. Lewis. Oh, and it probably suggested common Bible stories like Jonah for a conflict example." Shows what I know. :)


Wordsmith maybe? Though it's less fun.

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What age/grade of student, and how strong/average/weak of a writer is the student? That might also help us think of ideas… 🙂

Wordsmith is the only thing that comes to my mind -- about the same level of writing and instruction, written to the student, and much of it can be done independently by the student. However, Wordsmith is not as in-depth as Jump In, and the student finishes in less than a year.

Stack the Deck is written by/for school teacher for a classroom use, with a level for each of grades 3-12. I'm usually pretty good at adapting, but I had real difficulty adapting this one for home use. It definitely is very different in structure and style from Jump In, and not at all one you could hand off to a student. We did get some good things out of using it -- but it was a lot of work for me to figure out how to incorporate those "good bits" into our homeschooling.

Essentials in Writing is a newer offering, by grade level, that is a series of DVD lessons and assignments, with incremental instruction. No experience with it, but that suggests it could be done pretty independently by a student.

K-12 Writing Coach looks interesting. It would be completely secular, and with the interactive aspect, it looks like it would be somewhat independently done...

re: Jump In -- In case it is esp. of interest to you:

Jump In is published by Apologia, a Christian company. Most of the Christian content is in the writing prompts that are set up to be used for a month of "free writing" between each unit, so that it extends what is a 1-year program into 2 years. We ended up dropping the writing prompts -- DS was in 8th grade, so they seemed juvenile, boring and "too Christian" (and we are Christian), so the prompts didn't connect or spark any interest in writing, and there wasn't any real variety in the types of prompts and topics. (For "free writing" we  ended up moving to practicing timed essay writing from a prompt, using past SAT test essay prompts.)

As far as the main instructional portion of Jump In, as I recall, the Christian content tends to be largely limited to ideas for writing assignments. Specific examples I remember: pro-life and abortion are mentioned for one assignment; a "prayer chain" is mentioned in another. The references to abortion (and it's more often expressed as "pro-life" or "pro-choice" views, with only one direct mention of abortion that I can recall) -- along with references to religion or other potential "hot button topics" were not that frequent -- maybe a dozen in the entire book (with abortion/pro-choice totaling about 3 of those dozen). One of two of these mentions were as examples of good writing; the rest were ideas (among a list of other ideas) to pick from for specific writing assignments.

We found it pretty easy to skip over overtly Christian topic suggestions. However, as a Christian, there may be subtle things in the overall mindset of the program, or phrasing of things, that I might not have noticed or thought of as "religious", while someone else may find the overall tone of the program to be "too religious". Perhaps checking out the sample pages may help to see if the program could be adapted to meet your needs??

BEST of luck in finding what works best for your family! Warmly, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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She is in 7th grade and an average writer.  I want to work on longer writing assignments this year. Until now, most of her essays have been about 200 words.


I have Stack the Deck from an older child and I'll look at WWS.




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If you want to focus on essays you might look at The Lively Art of Writing. A boardie made a free workbook to go with it (search in the high school forum). It's fairly open and go, though you'd probably want to sub in some updated essay topics.

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